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White Nectarine Thyme Limoncello Cake

Lemon and thyme buttermilk sponge, pillowed together with a fresh thyme and limoncello laced mascarpone cream and loaded with sweet juicy white nectarines.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 18 people
Calories: 738kcal


  • 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 460 g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1½ lemons
  • 1 tablespoon heaped thyme leaves
  • 460 g plain flour To make the cake gluten-free, see the notes below
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 300 ml buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello
  • 4 white nectarines cut 2 of them into cubes and 2 of them into thin wedges

Limoncello Thyme Cream:

  • 1200 ml double cream
  • Large sprig thyme
  • 500 ml mascarpone
  • 5 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons limoncello


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C and line and grease 3 x 9 inch round cake tins.
  • Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and thyme leaves and stir in.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together.
  • Add the flour alternately with the buttermilk, adding the flour in three additions and the buttermilk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter equally across the cake tins and bake for about 35 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Once the cakes have been removed from the oven and taken carefully out of their tins, brush the limoncello over the top of the sponges then leave to cool.
  • Pour the double cream into a large saucepan along with the sprig of thyme. Heat until the cream is just starting to think about boiling then remove from the heat. Let the thyme infused cream cool in the fridge until cold (or overnight if you wish).
  • Remove the thyme from the cream and whisk until the cream forms soft peaks.
  • Add the mascarpone, icing sugar and limoncello and mix together until combined, the cream will probably stiffen up a little more but be careful not to overmix.


  • Place the first cake layer on a cake board then slather the cream generously over. Press half of the cubed nectarine into the cream then once you have filled your layer smooth over a little more cream on top.
  • Add the second layer then repeat with the cream and nectarine.
  • Add the third layer and slather over the rest of the cream, decorating the top with the nectarine wedges and thyme sprigs.
  • For the naked cake effect, just smooth the cream billowing out of the sides of the cake layers using a palette knife.


  • Since posting this recipe I have since become 100% gluten-free. This is one of my most popular posts on the site so I have left the recipe intact with the plain flour I originally used. However, if you want to make this cake gluten-free then it's easy peasy. You only need to substitute the plain flour for the following blend of gluten-free flours: 160g sweet rice flour, 115g gluten-free oat flour, 95g millet flour, 45g potato starch, 45g tapioca starch. Whisk these flours together then just use in direct place of the plain flour. Happy gluten-free baking!!


Calories: 738kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 211mg | Sodium: 240mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 2015IU | Vitamin C: 2.7mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 1.7mg